Plumbing supply firm to develop potato barn site - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Plumbing supply firm to develop potato barn site

September 24th, 2020 SanTan Sun News
Plumbing supply firm to develop potato barn site


A Mesa family business is finally ready to implement its plan for an historic Gilbert site.

The Smith family, owners of Central Arizona Supply, plan to break ground this fall for its renovation and expansion of the Old Potato Barn on Williams Field Road between Higley and Recker roads.

While making room for the plumbing supply company’s 12th Valley location, the Smiths plan to transform the 20,000-square-foot barn into a multi-tenant retail and restaurant space and add three buildings to the 3-acre site. They’re naming the site Higley Barns.

Built in 1966, the barn got its name because it stored potatoes. It was turned into a showroom for the furniture store Potato Barn until the company moved to a larger location in 2011.

Generation Church then bought it but never did anything with it, so it has sat empty for nearly a decade.

The Smiths bought the property in 2015 and had initially announced a similar plan in 2018.

But co-owner Jeremy Smith said the family got sidetracked with other business.

“As a family business, we were focused on growing other parts of our company at the time, mainly expanding into appliances, and that took precedence over this adaptive reuse development,” he said.

“We are now ready to proceed with The Higley Barns and look forward to breaking ground in a few weeks.”

The project marks the first time the Smith family has waded into the role of developers outside of projects related to the expansion of their own 50-year-old business.

“It has always been our vision to create a community-focused collection of restaurants, shops and home products in a landmark location that has such history in Gilbert,” said Jeremy.

“The Higley Barns will become a mercantile for goods, services, history, art, music, entertainment and culinary, all within a gathering place that enriches the surrounding community in a meaningful way.”

In June, Gilbert approved plans for the multimillion-dollar project, which also includes three buildings ranging in size from 8,000 to 14,000 square feet.

The Smiths will open their 12th Central Arizona Supply location within two areas of the property.

Half the barn will house “a stunning 10,000 square-foot plumbing and appliance showroom that will showcase the latest in luxury kitchen and bath plumbing, appliances and designer lighting,” a spokeswoman said, calling it “a first of its kind” that will give designers, homeowners, builders, plumbers and contractors “an immersive experience with the world’s top brands.”

The 8,000 square-foot building will house plumbing and parts counter and a warehouse, which accounts for nearly half of Central Arizona Supply’s overall business.

The two additional buildings, and the other half of the barn, will be available for lease or purchase.

“The Higley Barns location will be our first showroom in nearly a decade, and with it we aim to raise the bar nationally with how clients and home professionals experience all of these design elements in one beautifully curated environment that honors the home,” said Smith.

“From working kitchens and cutting-edge products on display, to local chefs hosting cooking demos for the community, it will be a fun and inspiring place to gather and collaborate.”

Phoenix-based Brick & West, known for designing some of the Valley’s most notable restaurants, has been hired as the architect and Lee & Associates Arizona will manage the leasing and/or potential sales of the mixed-use space.

Founded in Mesa in 1968, Central Arizona Supply is a fourth-generation family business that started as a plumbing parts supplier and has evolved into one of the industry’s largest independently owned family wholesale and retail businesses in the Southwest.

With 10 locations in Arizona and one in Las Vegas, the company boasts an on-hand supply of thousands of parts, products and fixtures.

Information: 480-834-5817 or visit